Sunday, August 23, 2009

Superhero Gaming

I don't really game any more outside of some Supercrew with my kids, but gaming has left a lasting impression on me. And more than anything else, I've played superhero games, which is a little odd even for gamers.

[You can see some of the characters and such that I've created for my own superhero setting, Mesa Grande, by going to Teams or Key Organizations at my web site, Dreaming Empires.]

So, I've read a lot of comic books. Over the years, I've also accumulated many of the superhero roleplaying games that have been produced. I've owned Fantasy Games Unlimited's Villains & Vigilantes (since discarded), Hero Games' Champions (since discarded), TSR's Marvel Superheroes, Mayfair's DC Heroes, West End Games' DC Universe (dropped, though the sourcebooks are good), TSR's Marvel SAGA, the Marvel Universe game (dropped), Guardians of Order's Silver Age Sentinels and The Authority, Steve Jackson Games's GURPS Supers (dropped) and Hellboy, White Wolf Games's Aberrant, Green Ronin Games's Mutants and Masterminds, Arc Dream Games's Wild Talents, Atomic Sock Monkey's Truth and Justice, and Tobias Rades├Ąter's Supercrew.

Of all these games, my favorites break down as follows:

Most Fun Actually Playing
  1. DC Heroes (in college--now out of print after the rules engine briefly returned as Blood of Heroes)
  2. Marvel SAGA (various times--now out of print)
  3. Supercrew (currently with my kids)
  4. Superworld (back in the day--original out of print but the latest revision of Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying [BRP] includes rules for supers)

Best Comic Sourcebooks
  1. The Authority
  2. DC Heroes
  3. Marvel Superheroes (first version)
  4. Hellboy
  5. DC Universe
Best Original Setting

2. (tie) Mutants and Masterminds (Freedom City)
2. (tie) Silver Age Sentinels (Core book setting)
3. (tie) GURPS (the IST setting)
3. (tie) Champions (Aaron Alston's Strikeforce)
4. Truth & Justice (Three settings in back of book--all good, but short)

Favorite Rules Sets
  1. Mutants and Masterminds (Very Flexible, Simple Core Mechanic, Complex Well-Balanced Character Creation, Tons of Options)
  2. DC Heroes (Flexible, Simple Table-Based Core Mechanic, Handles High-Powered characters, Decent Options)
  3. Marvel SAGA (Great Card-based Core Mechanic, Simple but High Trust Character Creation, Fewer Options)
  4. Silver Age Sentinels (Just a little simpler in many ways than Mutants and Masterminds but not quite as robust)

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